By Juna Manandhar
on 5 January 2018

Manju Lopchan is one of my students. She studied in Grade 1 and was the only student who struggled to write ABC's. The reason, after 10 months experience, was her forced admission to grade 1 when she should have been placed in ECD. In the last few months, I went on a journey to discover why Manju was placed in Grade 1 instead of ECD.

Talking with the Principal of the school, I learned that Manju’s parents wanted her to study in Grade 1. Being forced to climb the ranks, she has turned out to be the weakest student in her class. While most teachers focus on her weakness as Manju’s fault, I have brought her closer to me and started teaching her methods to identify and write alphabets. In the beginning, when I started working with her, she was very irregular to class and never bothered about being explained. Her performance throughout the year was hindered because she could not catch up with other students who were already making complete sentences and reading stories. Before the start of new academic year 2075 B.S., with the help of the principal and after conversation with Manju’s parents, we decided to put her back in grade 1 rather than to upgrade her to Grade 2. She is now more focused than she ever was. However, with the new move, her attendance only improved marginally. As her class teacher I noted her daily attendance and tracked her absences without permission. After understanding further, in order to encourage Manju to attend school, I started to give her a chocolate if she attended school without leave for the whole week. This worked! Now that she attends school on a regular basis, we have started a new initiative to reward the highest attendance student with a chocolate or a pencil.

Manju’s attendance has improved now, she submits homework regularly and tries her best to do her classwork. I had never thought that a little support and dedicated guidance could bring such transformation. She has progressed a lot with a simple act of attendance reward system and is happy to attend her school these days.